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Poster: ARossi Date: Feb 11, 2010 5:40pm
Forum: news Subject: URL shorteners working with Internet Archive for long-term preservation

Subject: URL shorteners working with Internet Archive for long-term preservation
Date: November 11, 2009

The Internet Archive and founding companies announce today the launch of, a service to archive shortened Universal Resource Locators (URLs). This will enable redirect services to incorporate these shortened URLs when a member company ceases business activities.

The use of shortened URLs has grown dramatically due to the popularity of Twitter and similar micro-streaming services where posts are limited to a small number of characters. Millions of shortened URLs are generated for users every day by a wide variety of companies.

But when a URL shortening service shuts down, the shortened URLs people put in their blogs, tweets, emails and web sites break. Unless users have kept a record of each shortened URL and where it was supposed to redirect to, it's not possible to fix them.

A group of URL shortening companies and other interested parties realized the potential for harm to the user community and formed the organization to provide more security for the people who use these services every day. Currently more than 20 URL shortening organizations have participated in an earlier form of this collaboration, and an industry leader,, has already begun donating archives of their URL mappings (pairs of long URLs and the generated shortened URLs).

The non-profit Internet Archive, a digital library with extensive text, audio, video and web collections, will administer as a project of the Internet Archive. "Short URL providers have in the space of eighteen months become a corner stone of the real time web -- was conceived to provide redundancy so that users and services could resolve a URL mapping regardless of availability. The Internet Archive is a perfect host organization to run and manage this for all providers," says CEO John Borthwick. “The Internet Archive is honored to play this role to help make the Web more robust,” added Brewster Kahle, founder and Digital Librarian of the Internet Archive.

All participating companies are members of the Working Group, a technical and policy discussion group, but the Internet Archive will manage the over all initiative in a fashion consistent with its charter as a non-profit organization, and supporting the interests of the greater community ahead of those of the participating companies.

Participating companies will provide regular backups of their URL mappings to the service. In the event of the closure of a participating organization, technical control of the shortening service domain will be transferred to in order to continue redirecting existing shortened URLs to their intended destinations.

Stowe Boyd, the well-known blogger and web commentator, has agreed to serve as director of "The community really needs the stability of an organization like the Internet Archive so that we can trust shortened URLs. I'm honored to participate in the project," says Boyd.

About the Internet Archive

The Internet Archive is a 501(c)(3) non-profit that was founded to build an Internet library, with the purpose of offering permanent access for researchers, historians, and scholars to historical collections that exist in digital format. Founded in 1996 and located in the Presidio of San Francisco, the Internet Archive includes texts, audio, moving images, and software as well as 150 billion archived web pages. For more information visit

About arose as a working group of URL shortening services in response to concerns about the longevity of shortened URLs. As of October 2009, the Internet Archive agreed to manage to archive and redirect shortened URLs. For more information or to participate, contact the project director, Stowe Boyd,, or visit the website:

This post was modified by ARossi on 2010-02-12 01:40:04